Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shining Model in Walnut Creek CA

Carola Z. writes:

Just a quick note with some good  news:  The meeting we started at Kaiser CDRP in Walnut Creek [California] celebrated its first anniversary today.
The meeting is every Wednesday from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in Room 3D at 710 Broadway 3rd floor.  It's still going strong and we had a nice large group of regulars and newcomers today.
 I had made a commitment to convene this meeting for a year, and I am especially happy to be able to announce that I handed it over today to two very capable members of that meeting as the new convenors.

Way to go, Carola!  Starting a new meeting and then passing on the convenor role to other members of the meeting is a shining model of how LifeRing takes root and expands.

Carola makes it sound so simple, as if there were nothing to it.  But there's a lot to it.  First, you have to get the room -- sometimes a battle of years with an entrenched and obscure administrative bureaucracy.  Then, you have to create the positive LifeRing atmosphere in the room:  safety, openness, honesty, freedom, humor, caring ... the environment that empowers the sober self, and keeps people coming back.  It's only then that you get regulars who build up sober time and learn the ropes of the LifeRing process.  And it's only when you begin to have such a core group that you have your pool of future convenors to whom you can hand the clipboard and the basket, give a friendly hug, and move on to start another meeting somewhere else.

The core message of the LifeRing convenor handbook (How Was Your Week) is "Pass it on!"  The "it" here is the convenor role.  When convenors remember that message and put it into practice, as Carola has done, then LifeRing thrives and grows.  There are, unfortunately, also some negative examples.  Last week at the monthly convenor workshop at the Service Center, I learned that a certain meeting that I had started fourteen years ago, and passed on long ago, was now without a convenor.  People had gone to the room, sat and waited, and no convenor had showed up. So, I went and acted as pinch-hitter tonight. There were ten participants, and we had a great meeting. A member of the meeting told me that the regular convenor had convened this meeting for more than three years.  No one knew what had happened to him, and we had only sketchy contact information for him in the database at the LifeRing Service Center. I enjoyed pinch hitting and I'll do it again next week; but I shouldn't have to.  Convenors who fail to develop other convenors and pass the meeting on will eventually burn out, and risk taking the whole meeting down with them.  That's not a recipe for a healthy, expanding organization.

So, congratulations and a shining gold star to Carola and the other convenors who "pass it on!"

No comments: